A traffic collision resulting in someone’s death is tragic and terrifying. It can be even more alarming to learn that you face criminal charges after a fatal accident. Vehicular homicide cases must show that a driver intended to cause harm or showed a reckless disregard for others’ safety. These criminal accusations may arise out of both intentional and accidental collisions.
A Phoenix vehicular homicide lawyer is ready to fight against the charges and protect your future. The knowledgeable attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group can explain what a prosecutor needs to prove to obtain a conviction under the state’s vehicular homicide laws. Our dedicated defense team will work tirelessly to preserve your rights.
Getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle places an obligation on drivers. In short, all drivers must take all appropriate care to ensure that their actions do not cause harm to others. However, not every death that occurs because of a person’s driving is a criminal matter. It is an unfortunate fact that people die in car crashes every day. If prosecutors want to pursue criminal charges against a driver, they must prove the defendant’s actions were so egregious that they placed others at an unreasonable risk of harm.
Many criminal prosecutions following traffic collision deaths move forward under Arizona Revised Statute § 13-1103, the state’s manslaughter statute. This statute makes it a class 2 felony to cause the death of another person due to reckless behavior. Reckless behavior that can lead to a fatal accident may include:
Other cases allege that a person knowingly used a vehicle to cause another to suffer harm. In these examples, prosecutors may pursue murder charges. Our vehicular homicide attorneys can further explain the types of criminal charges that may occur after road deaths in Phoenix.
All examples of vehicular homicide are serious felonies under state law. A vehicular homicide charge that moves forward as manslaughter is a class 2 felony. If this is a person’s first felony case and there are mitigating circumstances present, the judge must impose a minimum prison sentence of seven years. If there are aggravating circumstances, the maximum prison sentence is 21 years.
If a prosecutor is pursuing murder charges, there is no upper limit to the potential penalties. Arizona has the death penalty available in murder cases. If a prosecutor can prove the defendant used a vehicle to kill someone intentionally, this may be a sentencing option. In any event, a murder conviction must always bring a minimum of ten years in prison. The vehicular homicide lawyers at our firm work to build powerful defenses and prevent these life-changing penalties.
Few criminal charges are more severe than those involving someone’s death. The penalties are dire if a prosecutor can prove that your reckless or intentional driving actions led to a fatality. Even if you did not intend to cause any harm, you could face felony-level criminal charges.
A Phoenix vehicular homicide lawyer at our firm is prepared to fight tirelessly for you and your future. At Grand Canyon Law Group, our legal team is made up of former prosecutors who know how to handle your case the right way. Contact our office today to get started on your defense.